Marketing automation is a bit of a misleading concept. The reason I say this is simply because most people instantly think of email autoresponders when they hear the term “marketing automation“. Because of this, I prefer to use the term “Marketing & Business Automation”… sometimes I’ll even try to act cool and shorten it to MBA… but obviously that opens a whole other can of confusion.
So, if marketing automation isn’t just email autoresponders… then what is it?
The Truth About Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is the process of deploying technology to execute marketing and related business processes in a systemized manner. Some people think that marketing automation removes the human interaction from your business, however, I employ marketing and business automation to help me speak to the right people, at the right time, with the right message.
Another way to think about marketing automation is to think of a surgeon. You won’t see a surgeon is a hospital room preparing for surgery… nope, you see a team of nurses and other staff scurrying around getting the surgery ready. When it’s showtime, the surgeon saunters into the room, has his gloves placed carefully on his hands by a nurse, before performing the life-saving surgery. The surgeon doesn’t waste a single second doing something that isn’t directly related to his job.
Marketing automation makes you the surgeon. The marketing automation system is the team of nurses that prepare the surgery for you.
Imagine what you could achieve if you could focus on the highest value activities in your business… and allowed technology to take care of everything else.
What Does Marketing Automation Do?
We’ve identified that marketing and business automation can take a whole heap of tasks off your plate so you can focus on “performing surgery”, but what exactly does marketing automation do to help you scale your business.
There are three core phases of customer acquisition that marketing and business automation software can help your business with. I sometimes simplify these three phases to the acronym AEC, but I’m going to expand on them for you.
- Awareness: This is the phase where you make strangers aware of your business and the solutions your business can provide. It takes them from being unaware of your business to being potentially interested. Automation makes it possible to put the awareness phase (sometimes called the lead generation phase) on auto-pilot.
- Engagement: Now that you’ve captured the attention of strangers in the Awareness phase, it’s time to engage with them. Automation deployed in this phase can help people go from aware to engaged and interested in your product or service, It is also possible to use automation to engage with existing customers to increase retention and introduce them to other service or product offerings.
- Conversion: This is the phase that makes the wheels go round. It’s where the prospect exchanges money for your service and/or product. This is where marketing automation pays for itself. Imagine closing sales without even getting involved. This is completely possible with marketing and business automation.
At each phase of the customer acquisition funnel, marketing automation plays a different role and potentially uses a different tool. Because of this, you need to have a comprehensive marketing and business automation tool, as well as the right mindset and knowledge to bring it all together.
Just like flying a plane…
Your business is simply a series of systems and frameworks that are working together to achieve the desired outcome. Even if you think you don’t have systems and frameworks, the reality is that DO have some sort of system… it just may not be a very good system.
When it comes to thinking about marketing and business automation and how it works with your business, I tend to think of your business as a plane. The passengers on the plane are your customers and you are using your business to take them all to their desired destination.
Let’s Think About This A Bit Deeper…
You’re the pilot. The pilot is responsible for making the plane move in the intended direction, often having to make course corrections as the plane veers off it’s intended flight path. In your business, you are the pilot. You set the destination and are responsible for the journey that your customers are on.
Marketing and business automation is the plane. A plane is a giant machine built from specialist intricate parts that all serve a purpose. These parts work together to help the pilot’s vision (i.e. where he’s trying to take everyone) become a reality.
Your marketing strategy is the flight plan. Pilots don’t just jump behind the wheel (or cockpits) and make decisions on the fly about how they’ll arrive at the intended destination. They, and their team, decide upon the most appropriate flight plan well before the flight. The pilot then controls the plane to execute the flight plan.
The other benefit of thinking about your business as a plane is that it should encourage you to think about scale. That is, one pilot and his team can easily transport many customers depending on the size of the plane. This one-to-many approach can help your business grow whilst continuing to assist your clients to reach the destination they desire.
Marketing and business automation is where you use technology to execute marketing and related business processes. It enables the business owner to focus on high-value activity (like a surgeon) rather than wasting time on low-value activities.
Marketing automation helps with the three phases of customer acquisition:
When it comes to thinking how marketing and business automation can work in your business, it is sometimes helpful to use the analogy of flying a plane:
- The pilot is the business owner,
- The plane is the marketing and business automation software, and
- The flight plan is the marketing strategy.
If you’d like to experience a free trial of a marketing and automation software solution, then please click this link and register for a free trial with ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is my preferred marketing automation platform so if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below or reach out to me via email.